Odessa: 31 people choked to death on smoke or were killed when jumping out of windows after the trade union building was set on fire.
“Unclear” cause of Fire, says Radio France.
The Voice of America has described this crime as follows,
Dozens of people were killed in a fire and others were shot dead when fighting between pro- and anti-Russian groups broke out on the streets of Odessa on Ukraine’s Black Sea coast on Friday, opening a new front in a conflict that has split the country.
A revised Ukrainian government statement said the fire broke out in a trade union building, and that 31 bodies were found at the scene – seven fewer than police first reported. Most of the victims were apparently members of pro-Russian groups.
So a “fire” just “broke out”.
An even more weaselly-worded report on France-Inter this morning described fighting in Odessa between “pro-Russian” and “pro-European” backers of Kiev. The French radio station claimed that the “pro-Russians” attacked the “pro-Kiev” marchers, who were mainly “football supporters”.
The burning to death of 39 protesters in the Trade Union building was described as follows,
Dans la soirée, les pro-russes se sont barricadés dans la Maison des Syndicats, qui a pris feu dans des circonstances peu claires alors qu’il était assiégé par les pro-Européens : 31 personnes sont mortes intoxiquées par les fumées ou se sont tuées en sautant par les fenêtres.
In the evening, the pro-Russians barricaded themselves in the House of Trade Unions, which caught fire in unclear circumstances while being besieged by the pro-Europeans: 31 people died poisoned by fumes or were killed jumping through windows.
The Guardian is more even-handed.
More than 30 people were killed in violent and chaotic clashes in the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa on Friday as pro-Ukraine activists stormed a building defended by protesters opposed to the current government in Kiev and in favour of closer ties with Russia.
Odessa’s large Soviet-era trade union building was set alight on Friday as the pro-Ukraine activists mounted an assault as dusk fell. Police said at least 31 people choked to death on smoke or were killed when jumping out of windows after the trade union building was set on fire.
Bodies lay in pools of blood outside the main entrance as explosions from improvised grenades and molotov cocktails filled the air. Black smoke from the building and a burning pro-Russia protest camp wreathed the nearby square.
Pro-Russia fighters mounted a last-ditch defence of the burning building, throwing masonry and petrol bombs from the roof on to the crowd below.
Medics at the scene said the pro-Russia fighters were also shooting from the roof. At least five bodies with bullet wounds lay on the ground covered by Ukraine flags as fire engines and ambulances arrived at the scene.
Some people fell from the burning building as they hung on to windowsills in an attempt to avoid the fire that had taken hold inside. Pro-Ukraine protesters made desperate efforts to reach people with ropes and improvised scaffolding.
“At first we broke through the side, and then we came through the main entrance,” said one pro-Ukrainian fighter, 20, who said he was a member of the extreme nationalist group Right Sector.
“They had guns and they were shooting … Some people jumped from the roof, they died obviously,” he said.
Riot police arrived on the scene as hand-to-hand fighting was already under way inside, but did not enter the building and stood formed up in ranks outside.
Russia Today reports,
39 anti-government activists have died in a fire at Odessa’s Trade Unions House. Some burned to death, while others suffocated or jumped out of windows, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry reported. The building was set ablaze by pro-Kiev radicals.
A total of 46 people have died in Odessa’s violence on Friday and almost 200 others have sustained injuries, Odessa Region prosecutor Igor Borshulyak told journalists on Saturday.
39 of the dead lost their lives in the fire at the Odessa Trade Unions House, according to the Ukrainian emergencies agency.
“31 of the dead were found inside the building, eight more were found outside by law enforcement officers,” the agency’s statement reads.
Police detained over 130 people following Friday’s bloody clashes and opened up 10 criminal investigations with charges including premeditated murder and violence against law enforcement officers.
According to the ministry, the Friday standoff on Odessa included “anti-Maidan” activists on one side and “football fans” from Odessa and Kharkov, as well as “euro-Maidan” activists, on the other. A criminal case on the charges of mass unrest has been opened.
This article on the mounting conflict is well worth looking at: The Great Game of Oligarchs. Behind the Ukraine conflict are post-Soviet billionaires often residing in London, says SOLOMON HUGHES